GS PAPER – III
Why in news?
- Met department indicated in July that the August rainfall would be ‘below normal’; the rainfall in September is likely to be within a 10% window of the 16.7 cm that is normal for the month.
CHANGES IN MONSSON
- Rainfall in August has been the lowest in over a century, with India getting 36% less rainfall than it usually does in the month. Of the four monsoon months, August usually sees the most amount of rainfall (25.4 cm) after July with 28 cm.
- The last time India recorded such severe deficits in August was in 2005, when the shortfall was about 25% of the normal, and in 2009, when India saw its biggest drought in half a century and August rainfall was 24% less than normal.
- Rainfall in August has brought the overall national deficit to 10%, with the regional deficits being 17% in east and northeast India, 10% in central India, and 17% in southern India.
Effect of El Nino
- With the strengthening of the El Nino and unfavourable conditions in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, August rainfall has been markedly deficient in most of India, except in northeastern India, the Himalayan States, and parts of Tamil Nadu.
- El Nino refers to a warming of the central Pacific that usually translates to deficient monsoon rainfall over India.
- There is an increasing trend in the break days. Break days refer to rainless stretches during the monsoon months of June-September.
- The IMD on July 31 indicated that August rainfall would be “below normal”, but its weather models did not indicate that the shortfall would be as sharp as has been experienced.
- Monsoon rainfall in September, the last of the four monsoon months, is likely to be within a 10% window of the 16.7 cm that is usual for the month.
- While there is a reasonable chance of normal rainfall, thanks to favourable conditions in the Indian Ocean and two rain-bearing low-pressure areas in the Bay of Bengal, getting extra rain is quite difficult.
GS PAPER – III
Why in news?
- The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will be a pivotal force enhancing India’s digital commerce sector, which is projected to touch $350 billion by 2030, as per a whitepaper released by Deloitte India.
- The ONDC framework, building on India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), presents an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to connect and transact seamlessly.
- It sketched out the evolution of digital commerce in India, detailing the challenges faced in the initial stages, including concerns over security.
- ONDC is a remarkable opportunity for India’s economy spanning diverse industries.
Benefits of ONDC:
- On the agriculture front, through ONDC farmers could gain direct access to buyers while Farmers Producer Organisations (FPOs) can establish direct connections with potential clients, bypassing intermediaries.
- This integration optimises the value chain, facilitating trade amongst stakeholders, as per the study. At present, e-commerce represents just about 4.3% of retail commerce in India.
GS PAPER – I
Why in news?
- Mental health-related issues are rising in India according to the Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, which tabled its 148th report on ‘Mental Health Care and Its Management in Contemporary Times’, in Parliament, earlier this month, cautioning that the country lags with inadequate staff, medical infrastructure and budgetary allocation.
Committee’s observations on Mental Health
- According to the panel mental health refers to a state of well-being that enables people to cope with the stress of life. The Committee stated that India currently has 0.75 psychiatrists per lakh people, which is significantly low.
- The Committee observed that if India targets having three psychiatrists per lakh people, it will need 27,000 more psychiatrists.
- This scenario is similar for other professionals such as psychologists, psychiatric social workers, and nurses.
- The Committee also suggested increasing the number of seats for MD Psychiatry courses.
- The Committee also recommended that the Ministry should ensure essential medicines are available concerning mental health issues and suggests that the government further leverage the network of wellness clinics and tele-medicine to benefit patients.
- There is considerable scope to improve the treatment gap.
- Reasons for the gap include lack of mental health professionals, weak infrastructure and stigma.
- In 2010, global economic losses of around $2.5 trillion annually were attributed to poor mental health, stemming from diminished well-being and productivity.
- This will surge to $6 trillion by 2030. The latest report highlights inadequate funding for care and research.
- The total Budget Estimate (BE) for the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) is ₹ 89,155 crore. Of these allocations for mental health were as follows – National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, (NIMHANS), Bengaluru (₹ 721 crore); Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health, Tezpur (₹. 64 crore) and the National Tele-Mental Health Programme (₹ 134 crore).
- Highlighting the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psycho-social well-being of all groups, especially children, adolescents, and caregivers, it noted the need for evidence-based interventions for developing infrastructure and other policies around mental health.
- Addressing this requires not only increased financial support and expanded psychiatry residency programmes, but also establishment of positions for trained psychiatrists within institutions and district mental health programmes.
- Furthermore, ensuring an ample number of working psychologists is essential to effectively operate any mental health facility and reduce the treatment gap.
GS PAPER: I
Kokborok: A Tripuri language with no script
Why in the news?
Recently, a series of protests by political parties, student organisations, and tribal cultural and literary forums have resurfaced centred on a script for Tripura’s tribal Kokborok language.
About Kokborok Language:
- The Kokborok language is the lingua franca of the bulk of Tripura’s 19 tribal communities. It has a long history, and was recognised as an official state language of Tripura in 1979. However, Kokborok does not have its own script, and there has long been an argument over whether it should be written in the Bengali or Roman script.
The Controversy: Choosing the Script
- The erstwhile Left government had set up two commissions to examine the question. Both commissions found that the Roman script was favoured by the majority of the state’s tribal peoples. However, the government, which came to power in Tripura in 2018, has been pushing for Devanagari as the script for Kokborok.
- The TIPRA Motha, a regional party with tribal rights and identity at its core, wants both the Bengali and Roman script for Kokborok for now.
- The controversy is not just about language. It is also about identity and culture. The BJP sees the demand for the Roman script as a threat to Indianness.
The controversy is likely to continue for some time. It is a complex issue with no easy answers. However, it is important to find a solution that respects the wishes of the majority of the Kokborok people.
GS PAPER – II
Gabon Coup: An Episode in the series of Military Coups in West Africa
Why in news?
Recently, In a coup the military seized power in the West African country of Gabon, making it the eighth former French colony in the region to see a coup since 2020.
About the Gabon Coup:
- THE COUP was announced on national TV minutes after election results handed President Ali Bongo his third consecutive term in power.
- But the crowds that have thronged the streets have instead celebrated the coup. Bongo’s family ruled Gabon for more than 55 years, and he faced allegations of corruption, sham elections, and failure to spend more of Gabon’s oil and mineral revenues on the poor.
- In 2020, there were coups in Mali, Guinea, and Sudan. In 2021, there was a coup in Burkina Faso.
Why West African nations are seeing a spate of military coups?
- Security Threat: The security threat posed by terrorist groups is a major challenge for West African governments. These groups have been able to exploit the region’s porous borders and weak security forces to carry out attacks. The coups may be seen as an attempt by the military to take control of the situation and defeat the terrorists.
- Foreign Influence: The influence of foreign powers is another factor that contributes to instability in West Africa. France has a long history of involvement in the region, and its military presence has been seen as a source of resentment by some people. Russia is also trying to gain influence in the region, and this has further complicated the situation.
- Mismanagement and Economic Crisis: The dissatisfaction of the people with their governments is also a major factor driving the coups. Many people in West Africa are frustrated with the corruption, mismanagement, and lack of economic opportunity. This has led to a loss of faith in the government, and some people are willing to support a military coup as a way to bring about change.
It is important to note that these are just some of the factors that may have contributed to the recent spate of military coups in West Africa. The situation is complex and there is no single explanation. However, it is clear that the region is facing serious challenges, and it is important to find ways to address these challenges in order to prevent further instability.
Do You Know?
- Libreville is the capital city of Gabon, it is also the largest city of the country
GS PAPER – II
Ravi Kannan Wins 2023 Ramon Magsaysay Award
Why in news?
Surgical oncologist R. Ravi Kannan, Director of the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC) in Assam, is one of the Ramon Magsaysay award winners for 2023.
- The CCHRC now provides free or subsidised cancer care treatment to an average of 5,000 new patients annually.
About Ramon Magsaysay Award
- The Ramon Magsaysay Award is considered Asia’s premier prize and highest honour. It is named after Ramon Magsaysay, the third president of the Republic of the Philippines.
- The award recognizes and honors individuals and organizations in Asia, regardless of race, creed, gender, or nationality, who have achieved distinction and have helped others generously without aiming for public recognition.
- The award was established in 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City, with the concurrence of the Philippine government. The first award was given in 1958.
Do You Know?
- An oncologist is a doctor who treats cancer.
GS PAPER – I
Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) Scheme
Why in news?
Recently, the Union Cabinet has decided to reduce the price of a domestic LPG cylinder by ₹200 under the Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
The Cabinet also approved 75 lakh additional Ujjwala connections. The number of beneficiaries under the scheme will rise to 10.35 crore.
About Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) Scheme:
It aims to provide free or subsidised LPG connections to poor households in India.The scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme launched on 1st May 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh.Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG).Objective: The main objective of the PMUY is to reduce the use of polluting fuels such as firewood and cow dung cakes for cooking. These fuels are a major source of indoor air pollution, which is a leading cause of respiratory disease and death in India.
Applicant must be a woman above the age of 18 and a citizen of India.Applicant should belong to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) household.No one in the applicant’s household should own an LPG connection.The household income of the family, per month, must not exceed a certain limit as defined by the government of the Union Territories and State Government.Applicant must not be a recipient of other similar schemes provided by the government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the move a “Raksha Bandhan gift” to the sisters of the country. The decision will come into effect. The Opposition, which has been attacking the Centre over high prices for cooking gas, said the decision is just a poll gimmick.